There are heaps in the house I currently live in. They are roaming around, exploring, carrying, lifting… Always busy, so it seems. I love to watch them living alongside me, making use of the bits and pieces that are constantly shedding off my life.
One day, when I was living by the beach, I noticed of a small delegation of ants checking out the bathroom, intrigued by countless tiny sand particles all over the place (fyi: when you live footsteps from the beach you’ll stop trying for a sand free environment pretty quickly…).
Over the next days more ants arrived, looking around, measuring, discussing and planning.
Admittedly, due to the language barrier I can only assume they did those things, but I guess they had to, because they were about to take on a project of massive proportions:
To build an anthill from sand in my bathroom. No joke, this was what was going down.
Fair enough fellas, I thought, and decided to let them try.
Which, is not a given! I mean, you gotta understand that while I really like to live with ants, I only allow them – or any other being for that matter – to intrude my life to a certain extent, before restoring order by re-assuming dominance in my habitat by means of force (violent force even, if required; which is however rarely necessary with my ant friends, I must add).
Normally an anthill in my bathroom certainly would overstep my (anyway very lax) boundaries, however, in this case I was intrigued by the ant’s fierceness, their determination to start something like that. Besides, I was pretty confident they’d give up soon, given the rough (read: wet) environment in a beach pad bathroom.
I am glad I did let them be, because it allowed me to witness something incredible. But first, let me say that they did not succeed with their anthill; they came far, much further than I would have anticipated, but eventually they gave up and disappeared. How they got there was fascinating though!
Listen to this, I am not making this up:
There were 2 kinds of ants. Big ones and small ones. I thought that was odd already, normally they tend to stick around their likes in terms of size and shape, but whatever…
It did hit me hard though when – after a couple of days of twice daily, 2 minute long observations while brushing my teeth – I began to see through the dark game that was being played in front of my eyes.
The big ants did. not. fucking work. At all. Or rather, at least no heavy lifting. It seemed that they’d had some sort of a manager role only.
All they did was pushing around the smaller ones, you know, the ones doing the actual work.
Please, I am not making this up and I am not taking sides either. I am merely describing what I saw with my very own eyes, and I swear that I have never, not even once, seen one of the big ants working on, engaging with or even looking at the big mess of sand, the smaller ones eagerly tried to turn into a home.
I did see, however, the small ants, tirelessly and with great effort, struggling with their tiny bodies, putting in hour after hour to make this happen.
All the while the bigger ones, those bastards, were constantly on their back, pushing them to go faster (I think…). Yes, this was really happening, bloody interesting or? National Geographic’s – Steve Irwin style adventures, all going down in my house, in front of my eyes.
I am kidding of course when I make this about oppression, when I assume that there was some sort of unfair power dynamics at play. For all I know, in the ant world working provides pleasure and it was in fact the big ones who were being punished. Or no one was. Perhaps everyone was compensated fairly. Perhaps compensation is not a concept in the ant world, perhaps everyone just works with each other sharing all resources.
But I digress.
The reason I am telling this story is because I want to encourage you to be brave and allow certain insects to live with you. I mean, they anyway already do, if you like it or not.
It is just, by accepting it you will make your – and also you insect room mates’ life easier.
You don’t have to freak out when your paths cross, because soon you will learn that in 9 out of 10 times they have no interest in you whatsoever. They are actually pretty cute and interesting.
And last but not least, it’d allow the little creatures to enjoy a more peaceful living environment. No constant fear of being crushed or vacuumed, just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The world outside is harsh enough.
Have a heart, lay down the arms and see what happens.
And let me know!